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"Can We Talk About This?" (DV8 production at the National Theatre)

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Tonight is the first night of this Lloyd Newson/DV8 production at the National Theatre (Lyttelton), and I wondered if anyone here was going? If so, if would be good if they could let us have their impression of the performance. I'm booked to go on Tuesday myself, but would be interested to know what to expect.

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It is very text based - the movement aspects are less than you might be expecting from previous DV8 productions. Its 80 minutes, no interval, and no admissions once its started, so don't get there late. Last night started at 7pm and I think a few people managed to miss the entire peformance. (Tonight and subsequent performances start at 8pm).

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I was there last night, and was impressed at the passion and anger of the piece. True, it’s strongly text-based but the ten performers moved as well as spoke, and moved in a way that only dance professionals could - I spent quite a lot of time wondering how they managed to have enough breath left to speak their lines and came to the conclusion that they were miming to their own recorded voices. ( may I be forgiven if I’ve got this wrong!).


The problem I had with the show was that although it didn’t come over as a rant, there was no doubt that this was at heart simply a retelling of what we already knew about the extreme aspects of Islamism. The words used – and some were shocking - were taken from actual statements made by people who have had direct experiences of this extremism; I did begin to long for just one reasonable statement from a leading Muslim - after all we know that there are probably at least as many reasonable Muslims as extreme ones in the UK, but as suggested by some of the statements we heard, they don’t dare to speak out, and one of Newson’s points is that the fear of these Muslims is beginning to spread into the non-Muslim majority here in the UK - what a mess!


The house was packed (with the fearless?) and the mostly young audience was gripped to the end - DV8 and Newson have surely won some keen new fans.

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  • 2 months later...

I finally managed to see a production by DV8 last night at the Lowry.


I wasn't really sure what to expect.


Can we talk about this is about racism and the narrative is taken from statements by individual people who have suffered and from newspaper articles.


The movement is repetitive and hypnotic; I can't believe the sustained energy of the performers who talk and dance at the same time.


This is a hard-hitting, thought provoking and intense production. I can't say that I came out on a high but I can't stop thinking about it. I would highly recommend it.

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